Every year as the year draws to an end, people all over the world start with their elaborate plans of spending their New Year’s Eve along with their family envisaging a bright New Year ahead.

In this context people all around the world make New Year resolutions to be adhered to in the coming year. People make resolutions which are self improving in nature, that is resolutions which when adhered to will improve their well- being  be that mental or physical. Similarly then, there are resolutions which one can make to improve their family lives too.

In the modern grind, with professional lives looming large over personal lives and technology invading quality personal time; it is often seen that family has taken a back seat resulting in estrangement or various other depressing issues arising out of an unfulfilling family life. Thus other than making a personal set of resolution, those who care about their family should create a set of resolution for their families and should see it to fruition.

Therefore let us take a look at what are the top Five New Year Resolution which can be taken up as a coordinated Family unit –

  1. Have More Family Dinners — Wasn’t there a saying that a family which has dinner together stays together? Or did i just make it up? Don’t know, but know this much that it is a proven fact. A dinner together without the infringing and obtrusive presence of a Television helps all the family members recount how their day had been; which in turn makes every family member aware of mostly what is happening with each others’ lives. It is a bonding exercise if ever there was one. It helps one to unwind and relax in each others’ company. It is even more beneficial for growing children to have dinner together as a family where they can learn food habits or table manners and in the longer run will go on to produce good food habits in them as adults.  Having dinner together will also ensure that the children do not get to spend that time in other meaningless activities. To make this entire experience better it would be great if the members are involved in the cooking process. Children learning or watching the food being prepared learn invaluable life education and also about nutrients and vitamins.  Thus, make a resolution this New Year to eat as many dinners as possible with your family. But with the TV switched off and the remote in a remote area!
  2. Stay Active – Staying active, eating healthy, being fit are all resolutions which are adopted individually amongst the most number of people. Unfortunately by mid month most of them lose steam and the resolute resolution to stick to this resolution in the coming year is once again arrived at. To be consistent with this, the best way will be to take a resolution of staying active as a Family together; cohesively.  Instead of taking monumental goals, take baby steps. Take small easy to do things together every day.  It has been proven that when you take small achievable goals, it gives you a feel good factor to see them through. Therefore make small walking trips every weekend. Make stretching a daily affair before breakfast. Take a resolution of swimming twice a week. Insist upon walking your children to school instead of hopping in the car. Go for family walks everyday post dinner, be that for 10 minutes only. Do it.  The children will have a role model to follow, they will learn a lifetime worth of good practices as well as you will have cheerleaders and compatriots slogging out the same way you are. Thus make small physical activity plans encompassing all in the family.
  3. Reduce Screen Time – With the advent of technology, all of us are becoming, or have become more and more dependant and glued to our “screens”. The screen can be any screen- laptop, tablet, computer, smart phone, television or you name it.  According to Behavioural Experts opinion children at the category of classes 6 to 12 should ideally have less than 2 hours of screen time. This screen time as mentioned earlier includes TV, game consoles or smart phones. Not only increased screen time increases the risk of children developing sedentary lifestyles, becoming couch potatoes; it is inversely proportionate to decreasing parental attachment and attention span. Excessive viewing of television can cause behavioural disorders among children giving rise to juvenile crimes, lasting after expensive articles, violence etc. It has been found out in research studies that this is directly related to psychological disorders and trauma amongst children and teenagers. Therefore encourage children to participate and play various physical games, be that outdoor and indoor. Encourage them to give free reign to their imagination in drawing, in writing journals of their own, in building blocks, in reading, in playing a variety of board games. Plan weekend screen- free times in going for long walks, museum visits, learning a new language together, taking up a hobby together, for example — reading. Going for impromptu picnics, sharing anecdotes of your day. Incorporate one or a couple of activities like these and see the sea change you can usher in this New Year.
  4. Better Family Communication — All the above resolutions which can and should be incorporated as Family Resolution for the New Year probably has skimmed or directly addressed this topic of better family communication. It has been observed that children who share their “secrets” or are considered as almost equal in sharing things by their parents have lesser records of being rebellious. They are better equipped to handle anger, stress or changes which are a part of life. These are the people who will have stronger conflict resolution skills. So what are the things one can do to keep the channels of communication open?  Parents should have regular meals together, at least once- the dinner together where they can discuss how their day has been, what all trials and tribulations they have faced and the way to resolution. There can be planned leisure time activities, such as learning a new language or taking up a hobby. There can be channels of communication open with recreational activities like taking walks, going for picnics, planning a day out getting engaged in board games as scrabbles, attending the children’s annual days etc.  Shared time amongst families makes then more bonded and makes change management easier.
  5. Less Structure – family together should be more free flowing all around with their activities and their timings. With the pressure of performance and rat race looming large , we as parents often fall in the vicious cycle of getting the children too organised. In perusing an all- round development for our children we tend to make them slaves of the watch by running from one lesson to the other. Between school to meal time, often the children’s day is crammed up with piano lessons, football coaching, cricket practices, additional school subject tuitions; leaving a child with no Me-time; where they can have unstructured activities bringing joy to themselves only. An unscheduled and unstructured time help the children develop their own identity and shows the areas they are interested in really. It could be drawing; it could be engineering small things. Let it be free flowing. Let it be ingenuous. These unstructured times in the longer run will make them more structured, develop their independence, brush up their social skills fire their imaginations and fuel their creativities.  Remember the children too need a break from regimens and super disciplined structured days to just enjoy. This will create a better bonding amongst you and your children. It will also make your children respect you as a parent much more as you recognise their need to relax and also appreciate their individuality.

Thus the New Year should see more laughter, more walks down the slopes, more weekend getaways, more museum visits, more discussions and amicable debates around the dinner table, more and more newer creative pursuits, more heart to heart talks than the previous year. Let this year and these practices pave the way for a super bonded family who will vouch and stick to each other should the need arise in times of difficulty. Let these resolutions make you all better parents, help you develop your children into sorted and well groomed individuals who will be compassionate and yet will have individual traits and attributes. Let them handle stress better and cope better with changes in this ever changing world. Let Family emerge as the one cohesive and comprehensive unit as it should have been and as it should be perceived. Amen to Family, and cheers to the top five New Year Resolutions that we shall take up to strengthen familial bonding, consequently giving you a happy, loving and prosperous year ahead with your family.